Special and Memorable Family Summer Vacations: Including Security and Safety in the Wilds of Canada

While I live in New Jersey, a wonderful place to spend time in the summer, I am fortunate to get to visit family each summer in western Canada. My family has a “summer cottage” at Pigeon Lake in Western Canada. The cottage has been in my family since my mother was a little girl; it has changed little, running water and a flush toilet are the norm now, but otherwise it is much the same as it was 70 years ago.

My kids spend their days in and out of the lake, canoeing, fishing, sandcastle building and staying up late – as the sun, which sets around 10pm in this part of Alberta, in July, never really seems to leave the horizon until after midnight.

This summer as a special birthday present for my mother – my brothers, their families and mine, took a side trip to the Rocky Mountains to a magical place called Nipika Lodge, an off the grid, winter and summer resort, even further removed from our “real life” than Pigeon Lake. We hiked and played in the mountains and even took a turn canoeing down the Kootenay River. A snowy winter and wet spring made for a very fast river and turned our family canoe trip into more of an adventure than we could ever have imagined.

The fast running river made our hearts pound, our knees hurt from pressing on the sides of the canoe for support, and earned each participating family member, in our eyes at least a badge of honor. One of those serendipitous events for us, which played out on our river trip, was an earlier gift from my friends at The Balancing Act. They know I love the outdoors and that I spend a lot of time out “in it” during the summer. I was intrigued by a product the SureAqua Bottle, introduced by Andie Domanko on a recent segment of The Balancing Act and they suggested that I “give the bottle a try” at some point over the summer. I packed the SureAqua bottle along for our trip to the mountains, not sure if I would use it or not.

According to the SureAqua website, the filter in the drinking bottle “removes 99.9999% of waterborne bacteria and contaminants, including Giardia and Cryptosporidium, filtering up to 1000 liters of water and removes bacteria and viruses from municipal supplies without any harsh substances, and without the unpleasant taste experienced when using chlorine and iodine based products.” Even up in the Canadian Rockies, Giardia (intestinal infection from bacteria found in animal waste) is a common concern from stream and river water, as it is in the streams and rivers of the American North East, where we often hike and camp as a family. While our trip on the river wasn’t an extensive multi-day adventure, having the SureAqua bottle with me made me feel more secure.

On our family camping, hiking and canoeing adventures, I have come to expect “the unexpected;” you never know when you may be stuck longer than you think on a trail or on a river, with access to clean water always an important and critical issue. I look forward to using my SureAqua bottle on other camping and outdoor adventures, and letting my mind be more at rest, allowing me to “carry less water” than I might otherwise, lightening my load and letting me focus on the trail and the adventure ahead! We also all agreed the SureAqua bottle could come in handy at our Canadian cottage where we use well water. We do test the water regularly, however, the SureAqua bottle provides an added sense of security. Thank you to my friends at the Balancing Act for introducing me to this unique and useful product, and to SureAqua, a company with strong social and environmental standards!

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